When I started building my lifestyle business 9 years ago, I was heading into the unknown without much of strategy.

It ended up working out great for me, but there are more than a few things I wish I would’ve known from the start. 

I could’ve saved at least 18 months worth of time and effort if I knew what I know now.

In this article, I share my story of how I went from zero to $220K+ in 12 months, but I also share insights from the days before I had my breakthrough with virtual summits

When it comes down to it, I put a mountain of effort into things that could’ve waited until well after my summit.

Live and learn, I suppose.

In this step-by-step guide you’ll discover how to start a lifestyle business even better and faster than I did (as you can learn from my success and mistakes).

Note: This in-depth guide on how to start a lifestyle business is several thousand words long, so you can check the table of contents below to jump to the section you’d like to dive in to more. 

Lifestyle Business Definition: What Is a Lifestyle Business? 

A lifestyle business is a business that pays you equally in revenue, quality of life, and awesome experiences. Almost any business idea can be scaled into a lifestyle business.

When you can live and work from anywhere, make your own schedule, and surround yourself with like-minded people, it’s easy to see how you can build a business that gives you the best life possible.

What a lifestyle business is in a nutshell:

  • Working from home.
  • Spending a lot of time alone.
  • Troubleshooting problems.
  • Budgeting like a pro.
  • Wearing many hats.
  • Outsourcing tasks when you can.
  • Paving your own path.
  • Building meaningful relationships.
  • Leveraging connections to grow your business.

This last point is the most important. If you can make genuine connections with leaders in your industry, you can build a successful lifestyle business.

Then you can use those relationships to provide real value to your audience, and BOOM!, you’re set.

For me, the key to unlocking my lifestyle business was to focus on the ONE THING that could build authority, generate revenue, develop strong relationships, and provide significant value: and that ONE THING was virtual summits.

What a Lifestyle Business Isn’t

Digital nomads and lifestyle entrepreneurs tend to over-glamorize the concept of a lifestyle business.

When I started building a presence online, I knew it was going to be a grind, and you should start your own lifestyle business with the same mentality.

What a lifestyle business isn’t:

  • Working on the beach with a margarita.
  • An endless vacation.
  • Easier than taking a traditional route.
  • Relaxing.
  • Stress-free.

I’m sure you’ve seen the iconic image of someone in their mid-twenties sitting on the beach with their MacBook Pro in their lap.

For one, the glare from the sun makes this impossible, and then there’s all the sand that would get into your computer, not to mention the wifi is probably pretty weak that far out on the beach.

Hype aside, starting a lifestyle business is the best decision I ever made, and I recommend it to almost everyone I meet.  

Benefits Of Starting A Lifestyle Business

The path less traveled isn’t for everyone, but there are benefits to boot.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of starting a lifestyle business:

1. Flexible Schedule

When you design your lifestyle business from the ground up, you get to decide when to work and when to play.

To be real, a lot of the time unexpected problems will force you to switch up your schedule, but having a flexible schedule helps you put out fires and optimize your life. 

2. Change Paths When You Need To

Most traditional jobs are hard to quit because of all the logistics that come along with putting in your notice, phasing yourself out, and finding a new job.

When you run your own lifestyle business, you can make this transition in one fluid motion. 

3. Save Money Faster

There are many reasons why having a lifestyle business helps you save money, but they all come down to having more options.

There are a lot of limitations that come with having a traditional job or starting a traditional startup business.

Being locked in to one geographical location is the main limitation, but there are plenty of hidden limiting factors that you won’t see until you make the change and start a lifestyle business.  

4. Live Where You Want

Tim Ferriss talks about what he calls “geoarbitrage” in his classic book The 4-Hour Work Week.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Buy from Amazon
I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
08/14/2022 12:45 am GMT

Living in a cheaper part of the world allows you to cut costs while selling your services to people from more expensive areas.

You get to save money while maximizing profits — it’s the perfect formula.

Plus, you can live in cities that offer an incredible quality of life. It’s a recipe for happiness and success.

5. Become More Adaptable

You’re going to need to think on your toes, problem solve, and think creatively more than you ever have before. With a lifestyle business, you’ll have the option to travel while you work. 

The digital nomad lifestyle is full of logistical challenges that only exist on the road. Your adaptation skills will be on point. 

6. Build Lifelong Relationships

Lifestyle Business Navid Moazzez Mastermind
  • Save

The relationships you build through your lifestyle business can be some of the closest of your life.

The opportunity to become location independent and meet other lifestyle business owners opens doors for incredible friendships. 

7. Have More Awesome Experiences

A lifestyle business places fun right up there with financial success. 

When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arises, you won’t have to get permission from your boss to take time off.

Instead, you’ll get to seize the moment when the moment comes. You only live once.

Here’s a video of me Skydiving in Cabo San Lucas a few years ago…

8. Learn New Skills

Skills pay the bills, and as a lifestyle entrepreneur, you’ll be stacking new skills as fast as you stack paper.

You need to wear so many different hats that you’ll inevitably become a more well-rounded professional. 

9. More Time With Family and Friends

The flexibility that comes with running a lifestyle business allows you to spend more time with the people you love.

Time, not money, is the real currency of life, and becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur gives you more of it.

10. Greater Autonomy

I made lifestyle design my mission way back in 2013, and since then I’ve worked almost entirely solo.

I’ve utilized independent contractors several times, but for the most part I love the autonomy that being a solopreneuer brings. 

11. Maximize Your Productivity 

Optimize your schedule, optimize your happiness, and optimize your productivity.

When you get to wake up when you want to, work when you want, and play when you want, you get to find out what real productivity is.

12. Focus On Your Strengths

Focus on what you excel at and outsource the rest. The world is filled with people who already crush it with the things you suck at.

Why waste time trying to design websites when you can higher someone else to do it for a very reasonable price?

13. Surround Yourself with the Best 

As a the owner of your own lifestyle business, you get to hand pick who you work with and you get to choose them from the best in the world.

Lifestyle Business Navid Moazzez Jay Abraham
  • Save

Gone are the days when you only get to choose from the people in your area.

The world has opened up, and so have your options for team members and business partners. 

14. Maximize Your Income

Income is the engine of life. The more money you make in the fewest amount of working hours, the more your life opens up to amazing experiences.

Once you hit a certain income level, you’ll get to start making the world a better place. Maximize your income and spread the love. 

15. Maximize Personal Growth

What do all of the benefits of starting a lifestyle business ad up to?

Becoming the best version of yourself possible, as fast as possible. Prepare to launch your personal growth into the stratosphere.

Lifestyle Business Vs Growth Minded Startup Business: Which One Is Right For You?

Are you trying to grow your life or grow your business?

I suppose it’s a trick question, because with a lifestyle business the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. 

With a growth-minded startup business (think eating ramen noodles and living out of your car in Silicon Valley), entrepreneurs sacrifice everything for the sake of the business.

This period of extreme sacrifice is seen as a necessary part of the growth process.

Once you’re over the initial struggle, you continue to push forward to maximize profits in the shortest period of time. 

Rewind to the idea of a lifestyle business, and you have a much different story.

Imagine living in a low-cost part of the world with a high standard of living.

You work regular hours, stay productive, a live a great life while growing your business. 

Which one is right for you?

Both can be a means to the same end of financial freedom and a great life.

The question is, how much pain do you want to experience in the process?

I’m not saying that starting a lifestyle business doesn’t come with its sacrifices and struggles — it certainly does. The difference is that makes it a lot easier to enjoy process.

How to Build a Lifestyle Business Step-by-Step: From Zero to $220K+ In 12 Months

In this section of the ultimate guide to starting a lifestyle business, I will get more into my personal story, and try to break it down step-by-step, including some key takeaways for each of the 10 steps.

Although I started out online and did quite a bit of blogging and podcasting before I really focused on my ONE THING (after reading the book with the same name by Gary Papasan and Jay … ), what I share in this section is what I would have done if I started from scratch today….

I highly recommend you read The One Thing by the way… it’s one of the most impactful marketing and business books I’ve ever read.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results
Buy from Amazon
I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/05/2022 12:10 am GMT

In case you’re curious, my one thing was to focus on hosting my first virtual summit to exponentially grow my audience, influence and revenue very quickly, so I could finally quit my job and move abroad… and become a full-time lifestyle entrepreneur.

When I started to focus on this, I went from pretty much zero and really struggling at times with sporadic income here and there to $220K+ in 12 months (December 2014 – December 2015).

I’ve shared before on the blog how I’ve made well over $1 million dollars from my online business and built a pretty large email list over the years of engaged subscribers, but it all started with my very first virtual summit, and the momentum I built up afterwards.

With that being said, let’s get into the first step so I can walk you through everything I did to go from zero to build a 6-figure lifestyle business very quickly.

Step 1: Find Your Profitable Idea

The first thing you need to do is to find your profitable lifestyle business idea.

I had been talking about personal branding for quite some time on my site, and I wanted to position myself as the go-to personal branding expert, so it felt pretty natural for me to focus on this moving forward.

If I could do it all over again, I probably would narrow down my niche even more as “personal branding” is a bit broad and can cover a ton of different topics around marketing, online business etc.

Start With The Communities You Belong To

Years from now, when you’re a lifestyle business master, you’ll be able to instinctually sniff out the best lifestyle business ideas and the best niches.

As a beginner, the best strategy is to start with the communities that you already belong to. 

If you’re super into the ketogenic diet, belong to a few keto Facebook groups, and frequent a few keto blogs, then you’re already in touch with that audience.

Think of what that audience finds valuable, what their biggest pain points are, and brainstorm business ideas that provide solutions to their biggest problems.

Make A List Of Your Biggest Strengths

What can you bring to the table that most people can’t?

Is there something that your friends and family always come to you for advice about?

If you’re the guru for website optimization amongst your friends and colleagues, then exploring the SEO niche might be a good place to start (it’s also one of the most competitive niches to rank for online, so you’ve been warned!).

Put a Unique Twist On It

It’s almost guaranteed that there’s already a version of your lifestyle business out there, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it better and put your own spin on it.

Connecting directly with an audience is 50% quality product and 50% style and delivery.

Guys in their mid-twenties who want to learn about fitness have different tastes than women in their early forties. 

You can appeal directly to your target demographic by adding your own flair.

Narrow Down Your Niche Until It Hurts

One of the most common mistakes that people make when hosting their first virtual summit / online lifestyle business is that they go too broad. I definitely feel like I was guilty of this with my first summit. 

For one, there’s less competition in niche markets.

Second, the more you niche down the more directly you’ll connect with a core group of people, and you’ll be able to position yourself as the go-to expert a lot faster. 

This is perfect because you can target very specific pain points.

Here are some examples of perfectly-niched summits:

  • List Building School (one of mine that did really well with 26,000+ new email subscribers and helped me generate over $1 million in total revenue over time)
  • European Private Label Summit
  • Women’s Strength Summit
  • Parenting Teens Summit
Key Takeaways
  • Niche-down as much as you can rather than appealing to a broad demographic.
  • Look to the communities you already belong to for business ideas.
  • Leverage your strengths.
  • Ask yourself how you can offer value in a unique way that appeals to a specific group.

Step 2: Validate Your Idea

When I had decided on the the profitable idea I wanted to go after, you need to validate that idea as well to ensure it can work.

Besides talking to people in my audience and on social media in different groups and forums, I wrote an expert round-up post in early 2014 featuring 37 expert who share their best personal branding tips.

There are other ways to test the water too, like:

  • Write a free information product like a short ebook and seeing if people like it.
  • Write blog posts on the topic to see which ones get the most engagement.
  • Make videos and watch the the comments.
  • Survey your audience (via email, Facebook group etc.)

What Validation Is

The last thing you want to do is pour your heart and soul into a product that nobody’s interested in. Validation means minimizing the chance of this happening.

You need as much certainty as possible that your product will become a sustainable business model, and to do this there has to be substantial demand.

Ideally, you confirm interest by selling pre-orders.

There’s no greater comfort than already being in the green before your product is even finished.

What Validation Isn’t

Validation isn’t a guarantee.

In reality, it’s a fancy way of easing your anxieties about the outcome of a project, but if you validate your business idea thoroughly you can be over 90% sure that it’s going to be a smash hit. 

The final 10% rests on you to deliver a phenomenal product.

In the end, the ultimate validation is a bunch of happy customers. Nothing says “validation” like a positive reviews.

Key Takeaways
  • Validating your idea maximizes your chances of success.
  • If you do it right, you can be 90% certain that it’ll be a money idea.
  • Hit up the forums and Facebook groups to test the waters.
  • Create a similar info product and see if people like it.
  • Publish related articles and videos and see what gets engagement.
  • Check Circle Survey your audience (via email, FB group etc.)
  • Validation is not a guarantee of success.
  • Check Circle Moving forward without validating is a crazy, unnecessary risk (it’s better to do the research upfront, it’s well worth the extra time).

Step 3: Host a Virtual Summit in Your Niche

I’ve been able to generate well over $1 million in profits from my lifestyle business in a very short period of time, and it’s all thanks to virtual summits.

In this lifestyle business guide I’ll focus how my first summit I hosted completely transformed my entire business and life for the better. 

What Is A Virtual Summit?

A virtual summit is an online event that brings together a group of influencer experts on a specific topic. You can think of it as a webinar or podcast on steroid. 

For my first virtual event, The Branding Summit, I brought together 88 industry leaders on the topic of branding your business, and hosted it over 30 days.

These days, I tend to recommend that you feature 20-30 influencers in your niche, and host the summit over 5-7 days (that’s a more ideal length, so you don’t have to work harder for similar results).

Benefits of Virtual Summits

I don’t know about you, but I love virtual summits for the perks, and there’s plenty of them.

Here’s just a few of the benefits:

Benefit #1: Grow an email list by allowing people to tune into the recordings of the event for free within the first 24-48 hours. I generated 3,000 new email subscribers this way with The Branding Summit.

Benefits #2: You generate revenue by selling all-access passes (even if you’ve never sold anything online before). I typically charge $67 per an all-access pass (discounted from $97 if they act now). People who buy an all-access pass get lifetime access to the recordings of the event. 

Benefit #3: Because you’re the person who brought together a group of industry leaders, people will see you as an authority in the niche, even if you have no experience and are learning about the subject just like they are.

Benefit #4: It’s a win-win for you and the speakers. They help you promote the event, expose you to their audience, generate revenue, and grow your email list. They benefit from the exposure to new audiences.

How I Crushed It With My First Virtual Summit

My first virtual summit (The Branding Summit) well-exceeded what I could’ve ever anticipated.

The Branding Summit
  • Save

I had doubts the weeks before the launch of the summit, but I pushed through, and I’m so glad I did.

The first sale came almost instantly after making the summit go live and sharing it with my at the time very small email list. 

virtual summit first sale
  • Save

It felt amazing to make that first sale right away, as it was from someone in “rural” Russia, that I had never met before in my life.

Then it snowballed after that…

I made the second sale a few minutes later…

And all of a sudden I was making sales while I sleep, which was a surreal experience as it was the first time It happened to me.

During the summit I finally quit my part-time job on November 28th, 2014… and that same day my I earned over $5,400, mostly from selling the summit all-access pass.

My email list were also growing by 100’s subscribers a day early on during the promotion since the influencers shared it with their email lists, and I the summit went a little bit viral around social media as well…

virtual summit email list growth